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Chapter 2 Section 7.

- Tertullian

The
CAUSE OF GOD AND TRUTH.
Part 4
Chapter 2—Of Redemption

Section 7—Tertullian. A.D. 200.


Tertullian is a writer, it must be owned, who expresses himself in somewhat general terms, when he speaks of the
incarnation, death and sacrifice of Christ, which are yet capable of being understood in a sense agreeable to the
doctrine of particular redemption; as when he says,[1] that "we who believe that God was here on earth, and took upon
him the humility of a human habit, ex causa humanae salutis, ‘for the sake of man’s salvation,’ are far from their
opinion, who think that God takes no care of any thing;" which may be truly said, without supposing that Christ
assumed human nature, for the sake of the salvation of every individual of mankind; so when he says, in another
place,[2] that "Christ ought to make a sacrifice pro omnibus gentibus, ‘for all nations;’ his meaning may be, that it was
necessary that he should be a propitiation, not for the Jews only, but for the Gentiles also;" and elsewhere having
observed that the Marcionites concluded from the words of God to Moses, in Exodus 32:10, that Moses was better than
his God, he thus addresses them,[3] "You are also to be pitied, with the people, who do not acknowledge Christ,
figured in the person of Moses, the advocate with the Father, and the offerer up of his own soul, pro populi salute, ‘for
the salvation of the people;’" by which people may very well be understood, the special and peculiar people of God’s
elect, of whom the people of Israel was a type and figure. Besides, in some places, Tertullian manifestly restrains the
death of Christ, and the benefits of it, to some persons only, to the church, and to believers. This having cited
Deuteronomy 33:17, His glory is like the firstling of his bullock; and his horns are like the horns of unicorns; with
them he shall push the people together to the ends of the earth; gives[4] this interpretation of the words; "not the
rhinoceros, which has but one horn, is intended; nor the minotaurus, which has two horns; butChrist is signified
hereby; a bullock is he called, because of both his dispositions aliis ferus ut judex, allis mansuetus ut Salvator, ‘to
some fierce as a judge, to others mild as a Savior,’ whose horns would be the extremities of the cross. Moreover, by
this virtue of the cross, and being horned in this manner, nunc ventilar, per fidem, ‘he now pushes all the nations;’ by
faith, taking them up from earth to heaven, and by the judgment, will then push them, casting them down from heaven
to earth." And a little after, in the same place, speaking of the brazen serpent, he says, that "it designed the virtue and
efficacy of our Lord’s cross, by which the serpent the devil was made public, and to every one that is hurt by the
spiritual serpents, intuenti tamen et credenti in eam, only looking upon it, and believing in it, healing of the bites of sin
and salvation are immediately pronounced." And so as he observes in another place,[5] quod perierat olim per lignum
in Adam, id restitueretur per lignum Christi, what was of old lost through the tree in Adam, that is restored through the
tree of Christ." Again he observes,[6] that the apostle says, that we are reconciled in his body through death; on which
he thus descants: "Yea, in that body in which he could die through the flesh, he died, not through the church, plane
propter ecclesiam, but verily for the church, by changing body for body, and that which is fleshly for that which is
spiritual." M. Daille[7] has produced a passage or two from this writer in favor of the universal extent of Christ’s
death and redemption, in which not one word is mentioned concerning either of them; and only declare, that man was
not originally made to die; that God is not negligent of man’s salvation; that he desires his restoration to life, willing
rather the repentance than the death of a sinner, which, as they do not militate against the doctrine of particular, so
cannot serve to establish that of general redemption. Two testimonies from Hippolitus, bishop of Portua, a disciple of
Clement of Alexandria, and a martyr, who is said to flourish about, A.D. 220, are next cited[8] at second hand; the
first of which is, that "the God of the universe became man for this purpose; that by suffering in passible (capable of
suffering; Ed). flesh, our whole kind, which was sold unto death, might be redeemed;" that is, from death, a corporal
death; the general resurrection from the dead being thought to be the fruit of Christ’s sufferings and death. The other
is, that "the Son of God, through flesh, naturally weak of himself, wrought out the salvation of the whole;" which may
be understood of the salvation of the whole body of Christ, the church, or of every one of his people, his sheep, his
children, and his chosen, and not of every individual of mankind; since all are not saved, as they undoubtedly would
be, if Christ had wrought out the salvation of all.

ENDNOTES:

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Chapter 2 Section 7. - Tertullian

[1] Tertullian. adv. Marcion, 1 2, c. 16, p. 465.

[2] Ibid. adv. Judaeos, c. 13, p. 226.

[3] Adv. Marcion, 1. 2, c. 26, p. 474.

[4] Ibid. 1. 3, c. 18, p. 192, 193.

[5] Adv. Judaeos, c. 13. p. 226.

[6] Adv. Marcion. 1. 5, c. 19, p, 613.

[7] Page 765.

[8] Adv. Marcion 1. 5, c. 19, p. 765.

http://www.pbministries.org/books/gill/Cause_of_God_and_Truth/Part%204/chapter2/chap02_section07.htm[11/2/2010 10:38:10 AM]